Dance, creativity, and cultural heritage – playing chamber music at an early learning stage

Presenters: Lidija Grkman and Špela Kermelj

Lidija Grkman
Špela Kermelj


Our presentation will introduce the importance of playing chamber music at an early learning stage, presented in our new textbook of chamber music for string players Veselo glasbeno rajanje pod lipo ali 1. Letni zmajčkov ples, which encourages pupils to learn string technique by making music with enthusiasm.

Our work is guided by a key principle: “Playing music in a group among friends is the greatest happiness and a gift, a unique experience, incomparable to any other activity.”

With our textbook, we wish to open the door to the experienced and emotional world of chamber music for young people. We hope this will encourage them to develop their own creativity through music, which leaves an indelible mark on children’s personalities and influences their adult lives.

We chose as the theme of our textbook the dance music, which is the oldest form of instrumental music, with characteristic of the long-standing diversity provided by different influences as a result of geographical and historical events. Instrumental melodies of folk dances and dance songs dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries are linked to a particular dance step, providing important lessons on the precision of rhythm, synchronised articulation, breathing and sound culture. These requirements rely on the fundamentals of bowing technique, which are shown in the textbook in different ways: using detaché, legato, staccato, portato, string crossing, col legno, and others, organised around the principles of performing dance music.The textbook encourages the pupil to develop their own creativity and offers a playful and effortless way of learning the basic string skills that are essential to mastering the instrument, all whilst raising awareness of the importance of nurturing cultural heritage.


Lidija Grkman, a violinist and pedagogue, graduated in the class of Prof Dejan Bravničar at the Music Academy in Ljubljana, receiving the Prešeren Award for Students during her studies. She was a long-time member of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and has worked with the Slovenicum Chamber Orchestra. As first violin of the Enzo Fabiani String Quartet, she polished her skills with Romeo Drucker (the Tartini String Quartet) and Valentin Berlinski (the Borodin Quartet) and by attending chamber music master classes in the Panocha, Hagen and Alban Berg string quartets. She has received the Zlata ptica (Golden Bird) award for her interpretations with the Enzo Fabiani Quartet. Today, Lidija Grkman is focused on teaching and spreading awareness among younger generations of the significance of chamber music. Together with Špela Kermelj, she is the co-author of Veselo glasbeno rajanje ali 1. Letni zmajčkov ples (2021), a chamber music textbook, and Spoznavanje moči glasbe in glasbenikov: Genialni Ludwig van Beethoven (2022), a textbook for a string orchestra.

Špela Kermelj completed her undergraduate and master’s study in the class of Prof Ciril Škerjanec at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. She has also attended cello and chamber music masterclasses by renowned musicians such as Hans Erick Deckert, Menahem Meir, Ilan Gronich, Henry Meyer and Tomaž Lorenz. Since 2007, she has been teaching cello at the Ljubljana Vič-Rudnik Music School. She has previously published Polžek leze (2017), a textbook for beginner cellists. Together with Lidija Grkman she has also written Veselo glasbeno rajanje ali 1. Letni zmajčkov ples (2021), a textbook of chamber music for strings, and has recently released Spoznavanje moči glasbe in glasbenikov: Genialni Ludwig van Beethoven (2022), a textbook for string orchestra.

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